East meets West: Iran-born dentist and First Nations artist come together with mural

A Saskatoon dentist has comissioned a First Nations artist to paint a mural in his new dental studio in the Riversdale neighbourhood.

Mural meant to make Indigenous clients more comfortable, respected

Saskatoon dentist Parviz Yazdani has commissioned well-known artist Kevin Pee-ace to paint a mural in his new dental office. (Don Somers/CBC)

Dentist Parviz Yazdani says he has felt a strong connection with the Indigenous community for years.

Yazdani, who was born in Iran, said many of his friends were Indigenous when he was getting his start in North Battleford. When he moved to Saskatoon, many of those friendships remained.

As Yazdani was preparing to open a new clinic in Riversdale neighbourhood, he wanted to make sure Indigenous people felt comfortable. So he asked well-known artist Kevin Pee-ace, a member of the Yellowquill First Nation, to paint a mural in the office.

Kevin Pee-ace is known for using bright colours in many of his paintings, as well as flowers normally seen in First Nations beading. (Don Somers/CBC)

So far, Yazdani has been impressed with what he's seen.

"There's something very enlightening and spiritual about it," he said. 

"I think it's representative of the best of First Nations culture and spirituality."

Kevin Pee-ace began painting in 1995. (Don Somers/CBC)

Pee-ace's colourful artwork hangs across the province. Pee-ace jumped at the chance when approached by Yazdani. 

Still at work on the mural, Pee-ace was busy mixing paint and filling in sketches of brightly coloured images of children reaching for the stars.

When the mural is finished, Pee-ace says the children in the mural will have different skin tones, representing kids from around the world. (Don Somers/CBC)

"In the wider context of things, we are all children of the Earth, and that's what this painting represents," said Pee-ace. 

"We're all children of the earth, we're all related, we all breathe the same air."

The dental office also incorporates features that would normally be seen in an Iranian bazaar. (Don Somers/CBC)

Yazdani asked Pee-ace to paint the mural around the theme 'East Meets West' and incorporate the tulip, the national flower of Iran, into the mural.

The mural, located in the Blok Dental Studio, is expected to be finished this week.

Pee-ace believes the mural will be completed this week. (Don Somers/CBC)